Landon Cassill faces uncertain future after FRM exit in ’18

John K Harrelson/NKP

By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor

Nearing the end of the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, it appeared not knowing the gender of Landon Cassill and wife Katie’s second child would be the greatest uncertainty the Iowan faced this fall.

It turns out he’ll also have to search for a new ride.

Cassill, 28, was informed on Monday by Front Row Motorsports (FRM) that he won’t be retained by the team in 2018, ending a two-year pairing that’s seen Cassill drive both the No. 38 and No. 34 for the team in subsequent years.

The news came unexpectedly for Cassill – he was told the team was making “radical changes.” It also came at a difficult time for Cassill’s personal life, with his wife Katie expecting the birth of the couple’s second child in the coming week.

“The most important thing for me and my family is to just prepare for the future and figure out where I want to go next and what I want to do,” Cassill told Kickin’ the Tires during Tuesday’s NASCAR test at Martinsville Speedway. “My wife and I are going to have a new baby next week, so we’re excited about that. We have a lot of good things to be excited about in our lives.”

There’s a chance Cassill won’t know his plans for 2018 before his child is born. He leaves FRM without financial backing to pursue another opportunity.

“I don’t have anything that would be following me,” Cassill said. “I’ve always been able to land in deals and have good sponsors, but I haven’t had them stapled to my forehead.”

What the eight year Cup Series veteran does have is experience and a proven track record.

Cassill is a textbook example of the modern journeyman driver. He signed with Hendrick Motorsports as a developmental driver at age 17, and though that deal never worked out, Cassill has managed to continually advance his career. He’ll arrive this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway with a resume that spans 253 starts in the Cup Series, coming across eight years for seven different owners.

“It’s definitely tough, but I’ve been through this before,” Cassill said of the news. “It seems like my work ethic and my ability to work with these guys and these teams has always kind of carried me. I don’t plan on that changing.”

Any future plans for FRM are unknown at this time. The organization has fielded both Cassill and David Ragan this season. They also have a third charter, which they’ve been leasing out this year.

Cassill isn’t sure why he no longer factors into the organizations plans, and willingly admitted Tuesday that the news was frustrating given his relative success with the team.

“I think it’s definitely upsetting,” Cassill said. “You know, I think I did a good job for the team and for my sponsors. I certainly work hard for everyone.

“But it is the business. It’s how the sport goes. It’s definitely a challenging time in the sport for these teams, drivers and sponsors as well. They’re in positions where they’ve gotta make decisions almost every single year now.”

So, what’s next for Cassill?

It’s hard to say.

“I don’t know,” Cassill said. “I think that’s going to kind of uncover over the next couple weeks. I think there’s definitely a lot of stuff moving out there. We kind of all look at the same chart and know what rides could be available or are available, and the dominoes that need to fall.

“We’ll just need to see. Maybe something good can pop up there. I’ll definitely be looking for it, or get really creative and try to create a good opportunity for myself.”

But one thing is certain. Cassill will continue to work toward his future – both in his personal life and on-track, with the support of his wife and family.

“My wife is a pretty tough person, and she’s a believer for sure,” Cassill said. “I’m blessed to have her in my life, and my family in my life. I think that’s what keeps you based and keeps you grounded.

“In some ways I’m kind of excited to start something new, no matter what it is.”

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